Orange County News

Kelly Thomas custody beating death: jury chosen

Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Kelly Thomas, who died after a violent confrontation with Fullerton police officers, is seen in this undated file photo.

Kelly Thomas, who died after a violent confrontation with Fullerton police officers, is seen in this undated file photo. (KABC Photo)

A jury has been selected to hear the case against two former officers accused of beating Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill homeless man, to death.

Out of 119 potential jurors, eight women and four men were selected Tuesday. Two men and two women were chosen as alternates. The trial for former Fullerton officers Jay Cicinelli and Manuel Ramos is set to begin Dec. 2.

Ramos, 39, is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter. Cicinelli, 41, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and assault under color of authority. Both men were in court for jury selection.

The two defendants and a third officer, Joe Wolfe, allegedly held Thomas down and beat him with fists and a Taser gun on July 5, 2011. The 30-minute confrontation was caught on surveillance cameras. The defense says the officers were just doing their job.

Thomas died five days after the confrontation. At the time, officers said they thought he was trying to break into a car. Investigators determined Thomas wasn't involved in any wrongdoing.

According to the judge, the jury will not be sequestered during the trial, which could last up to five weeks.

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